Internet filters are active everywhere - Flickr is banned in Iran & UAE, BBC & Wikipedia are blocked in China, Blogspot blogs are banned in Pakistan, YouTube & Photobucket are prohibited for US army overseas while social sites like Bebo, MySpace or Facebook may be banned in your office

Some companies even block access to mail websites like Yahoo or GMail under the pretext of security.

In the past, we have discussed atleast a dozen methods to help you access blocked websites that are banned in your office, school or by the government of your country. Here's a new method for unblocking websites - you'll probably enjoy it more than the previous hacks because it takes the geekiness out of the whole process and make it extremely easy to access blocked URLs.

Opera provides a free online tool called Opera Mini Simulator that emulates the Opera mobile phone browser on your desktop computer. The tool is done in java and is quite popular among web designers for testing website layouts on mobile phone devices without actually using a mobile phone.

As you probably guessed it by now, this Opera Browser Simulator can also be used for accessing web pages that may be blocked on your computer. Since the requests are made via the Opera.com website, they would easily bypass the local filtering.

To open any site in Opera, just append that site address to the following URL and start browsing.

http://www.operamini.com/demo/?url=[URL] - example

The Opera Simulator can even be used for secure sites that require cookies - for instance, you can check your Hotmail emails via Opera. Though you are restricted to the tiny 200x200 screen of Opera simulator, it's still a very handy tool. [Opera link from Rupesh]

Opera recently launched version 4 of the Mini simulator that offers a better browsing experience than the previous version. You can access v4.0 of Mini simulator here. The above video demo was created in this version.